Movie Theater Apologizes For Ousting Diabetic Customer

Man tried to bring in store-bought strawberries

If you live in New York City, you're probably well aware of the hardcore security apparatus movie theaters employ to keep outside snacks at bay. Even sneaking in a bottled water is about as difficult as getting a squirt gun through an airport, for all the questioning looks and enforced bag checks inflicted on customers. But one Brooklyn theater has recently taken the practice to new heights, after calling the police on a diabetic man who tried to bring in a container of strawberries.

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Michael Kass, who was on his way to a Divergent showing at Park Slope's Pavilion Theater, made no attempt to hide his open disregard for local snacking policy. The financial analyst, who has Type 2 diabetes, is unable to eat the sugary foods sold at the movie theater, and stood his ground when he was told to toss the fruit.

As the New York Daily News reported, a manager refused to refund Kass's $12 ticket--but Kass walked into the theater anyway with berries in hand. That's when the hammer fell.

"I was there for 10 minutes," he said. "The previews started playing and the manager came with two police officers and they had me escorted out."

It wasn't long before Kass took his grievance to Facebook, where he posted a lengthy message detailing the incident on the Pavilion's user page:

No one is asking you to stock granola or grapes in your concession stand if you don't believe you can do so profitably--but calling the "cops" on a neighborhood father of three for discretely bringing in a closed container of strawberries is beyond ridiculous and, if you don't revise your policy, I feel pretty confident getting our community to move their movie dollars elsewhere will be pretty easy."

Pavilion owner Ben Kafash soon reached out with an apology, but it looks like he'll also be taking some of Kass's comments to heart--by, well, stocking granola and grapes in his concession stand. The owner told the News that in addition to changing the no-outside-foods policy, he hopes to open a juice bar in the theater and offer healthy alternatives along with the expected Goobers and Junior Mints.

"I want to get the community involved," he said, adding that he hoped to include Kass in future meetings on the theater's direction.

But can we expect to see Kass at this utopian snack stand of the future? Maybe. "It an individually owned theater and I'm hoping we can have policies that are better for their patrons," he told the News. "He said he would change the policy and I'll hold him to his word."

> Find a job at a movie theater

Mack Gelber

Mack Gelber

Associate Programming Manager

Mack Gelber is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who has covered entertainment for AOL TV, and contributed fiction to Joyland Magazine and the Bushwick Review. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied creative writing. Twitter: @mackgelber

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CherMoeLin

They should be sued in light of the "Americans with Disabilities Act." Diabetics can't eat ANY of the trash that's sold at a movie theater.

April 10 2014 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CathyAx

Yes, Diabetics can have strawberries....low carb fruit. Certainly nothing in a movie theater is available for diabetics. What employee was stupid enought to call the poice on someone bringing in fruit. When I see customers being treated poorly in an establishent i usually walk out and don't give that store my business ever again. Too many choices to patronize rude folks.

April 10 2014 at 3:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
buzzyseed

He probably paid the "gay diabetic" card.

April 10 2014 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to buzzyseed's comment
CherMoeLin

It takes all kinds, like those that play the "uneducated Republican "family values" fake Christian card all the time, yet act NOTHING like the teachings of Christ. SERIOUSLY? That's what you got out of an article about big business kicking somebody out because they can't make them more profit by eating their overpriced GARBAGE? The outrageous prices of movie tickets is bad enough, but $5.00 or more just for popcorn, or as many $$$ for a small box of candy? Seriously, this man has a good case for a lawsuit.

April 10 2014 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Paid the "gay diabetic" card. I believe played is the word your looking for, you moron. Did you even read the story? He is a father of 3.

April 10 2014 at 9:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
buzzyseed

Yeah like there is no sugar in strawberries!

April 10 2014 at 2:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to buzzyseed's comment
Ian

You are a moron. I was right

April 10 2014 at 9:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bodacious Beauty

Was this diabetic supposed to have strawberries in the first place?? It's fruit, but SWEET.

April 10 2014 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bodacious Beauty's comment
UNSTOPPABLES

big difference between processed sugar and naturally occurring, health wise

April 10 2014 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
contitast

As a 30 year type 2 diabetic this guy could easily have bought hard candy at the concession stand and achieve the same results. He just played the DIABETIC CARD and are you guys bought it. LOL

April 10 2014 at 10:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
insanityx2

To those who do not understand type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in childhood, while type 2 is adult onset. There are insulin dependent and non insulin dependent diabetics. Diet is essential in controlling either type. Does this mean a diabetic has to eat every hour? No it doesn't. But having a snack that can keep blood sugar from dropping too low is a wise move. Blood glucose levels can be affected by many things, from meals to exercise and more. The choice made in a snack can hopefully keep the blood sugar in a range that prevents damage to the vascular system. In an emergency a diabetic can grab a small amount of something sugary if that is all there is, but often the crash that follows requires a food that breaks down in a manner that will level the blood sugar out without having to go through the shaky, cold sweat nauseous, feeling like you are going to pass out stuff. In the end being prepared is the best course of action for a diabetic.

April 09 2014 at 11:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jenn Wagener

my son is type one and he need food on him all the time we never have a hard time anywhere we go in the city when question I explain his condition and Most place understand. we have been to the movies lots of time and my bag checked and i show his medical note when questioned about having food.and the let us go without a sence

April 08 2014 at 11:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sheffam

Absolutely STUPID response from the movie manager. SHAME on the theater for hiring such a professionally irresponsible employee to represent their organization. On the other hand, the movie goer is not completely blameless. He admits to first insulting the theater by telling them that their "junk food" is not acceptable to him. He admits to disobeying the rules and taking in the food anyway. I apologize if I do not understand Diabetes better, and honestly I am not trying to be insensitive or rude here, but is it necessary to have food every hour? Does he wake up every hour during the night to eat a strawberry? Has he NEVER gone two hours without his own personal choice of foods. Or is this just a conscious effort to demand someone else accommodate his requests. Again the theater manager was totally out of line. However, Mr. Kass also is being unreasonable.

April 08 2014 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to sheffam's comment
acobra163

You are correct that you are uninformed. A diabetic must have certain foods or drinks or they can go into insulin "shock". Since they do not know when it will happen, many keep snacks wiht them at all times. You can't assume a 2 hr movie will exactly as scheduled. You don't risk your health intentionally. You seeme to have missed the point where the ignorant mangaer refused to refund his money. are you suggesting thta the customer is at fault for that?

April 08 2014 at 3:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to acobra163's comment
foubabou

I'm in favor of the man bringing in foods to snack during the movie that will not cause problems with his glucose, but really? He is a Type 2 and I've never heard of a Type 2 going into insulin shock.

If a Type 2 diabetic eats right, maintains his weight and exercise plans he is in little danger of any serious problems watching a movie for 2-3 hours.

I can certainly understand him wanting to snack on something while watching a movie and not being able to snack on what's provided at the theater but trying to play the "fear of insulin shock" card is a bit over the top.

April 09 2014 at 3:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
CherMoeLin

Educate yourself about diabetes before you pass judgment.

April 10 2014 at 9:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CAMERON

I can watch the same movies. On demand. Eat drink clean bathroom. For less then 12.00
In fact. For the price of 1 ticket. Movie theaters are going to go down fast when you can
For 1 low price I say save save save

April 03 2014 at 7:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CAMERON's comment
foubabou

I agree. Haven't been to a theater or football game in a long time. I've got cheap drinks and food, clean bathrooms, no lines, climate control, no parking problems, can pause movies and have instant replay, stop action, commercial breaks and better camera coverage than the eye can see on games.

April 09 2014 at 3:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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